Toxic Substances

Welcome to Public Health Toxicology

The Public Health Toxicology Program is responsible for two distinct areas of public health concern: the identification of potential health hazards resulting from exposure to certain chemical or biological agents; and the assessment and subsequent recommendations to abate or reduce any resulting health effects.  Some of the major responsibilities include the following:

  • Advise the Governor, other state agencies, the federal government, and local governing bodies on matters pertaining to chemical exposures posing a threat to public health or the environment.
  • Provide a direct response and disseminate information concerning toxic substances to government agencies, political subdivisions, health professionals, the media, and the general public by developing documents, technical reports, information sheets, advisories, and press releases.
  • Issue fish consumption advisories or bans in response to chemical contamination of fish and waterways.
  • Conduct disease surveillance for elevated childhood blood lead levels and adult exposure to toxic substances.
  • Conduct computerized literature searches on issues of environmental or health concern relating to current governmental standards, guidelines, or regulations.
  • Provide consultation and response to emergency operation centers during environmental accidents, natural disasters, and acts of terrorism.

Fish Consumption Advisory

Fish consumption advisories help Virginia anglers make educated choices about eating the fish they catch. While most Virginia waters do not have dangerous levels of contaminants, some fish in certain waters are found to contain contaminants at levels of concern.

A fish consumption advisory is not a prohibition of eating fish, but a warning about the contaminants present in a fish species. Each advisory specifies the waterbody or segment of a waterbody affected,  the contaminants present, and meal recommendations for eating specific fish species caught there. The meal recommendations presented in the fish advisory tables were developed to protect the general public* from adverse health effects from exposure to fish contaminants. It is recommended to follow the guidance presented on advisories to reduce your total exposure to fish contaminants.
*Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant, nursing mothers, and young children are advised not to eat any fish contaminated either with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) or mercury from the respective advisory areas.

Search the table below to view the current fish consumption advisories:

Hint: type in which species, locality, waterbody, or contaminant you are interested in to filter results.


Specific information about Virginia's advisories can be found in the interactive map below, or by clicking here.   Use the search bar to find a particular body of water, or the "my location" button   to zoom to your current location.  Information about individual river basins can be found below under Current Fish Consumption Advisories.  If the map has trouble loading, use the "home" button  to load the map to the correct view.

Contaminants in Fish

Contaminants such as mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and Kepone can be found in some species of fish in Virginia waterways. These contaminants can enter waterways in a variety of ways, including illegal dumping or accidental release. Mercury can enter waterways through atmospheric deposition from sources very far away. Fish and shellfish are also known to be a dietary sources of organic arsenic. The amount of organic arsenic found in fish and shellfish is usually 90 % of the total arsenic, and is known to have low toxicity for humans. Therefore, fish consumption advisories due to arsenic in fish are very rare.

Most of the fish consumption advisories in Virginia are for mercury and PCBs. When these contaminants are present in waterbodies they are known to bioaccumulate, which means that they can accumulate in fish tissues over time. Furthermore, they can biomagnify, which means that the concentration of the chemicals found in fish tissues will increase as they move up the food chain. For this reason, older, larger and carnivorous fish tend to be the ones that have advisories. For more information about the health effects associated with these contaminants, please click on the fact sheets for Mercury or Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs).

Current Fish Consumption Advisories PDFs
Click on a link below to view the current fish consumption advisory for a specified river basin:

Chesapeake Bay and Small Coastal Basin (includes Great Wicomico, Piankatank, Poquoson, Lynnhaven, Pocomoke Rivers; Dragon Run Swamp; and Mobjack Bay)

Chowan and Dismal Swamp River Basin (includes Nottoway, Meherrin, and Blackwater Rivers; Lake Drummond)

James River Basin (includes Maury, Jackson, Slate, Rivanna, Tye, Rockfish, Willis, Appomattox, Chickahominy, Pagan, Nansemond, and Elizabeth Rivers)

New River Basin (includes Little and Bluestone Rivers; Walker, Peak, and Reed Creeks; Claytor Lake)

Potomac River Basin (includes Occoquan River)

Rappahannock River Basin (includes Hazel, Thornton, Rapidan, Robinson, and Corrotoman Rivers; and Mountain Run)

Roanoke and Yadkin River Basin (includes Little Otter, Big Otter, Pigg, Dan, Smith, and Banister Rivers; Smith Mountain, Leesville Lakes; Lake Gaston; Kerr Reservoir; and Lovills Creek Lake)

Shenandoah River Basin (includes South, North, South Fork Shenandoah, and North Fork Shenandoah Rivers)

Tennessee and Big Sandy River Basin (includes Holston, Clinch, Powell, and Guest Rivers; Levisa, Russell, and Tug Forks)

York River Basin (includes Pamunkey, Mattaponi, Lake Anna, Little, Matta, Po, and Ni Rivers)

Health Benefits of Eating Fish
Fish provide substantial human health benefits. They are low in saturated fat, high in protein, and a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Fish contain vitamin D, calcium, iron, magnesium, as well as other nutrients that are beneficial for human health. Fish consumption has been linked to a decreased risk of heart attack, stroke, and high blood pressure. Fish consumption may also contribute to immune system strengthening, healthy brain functioning, and proper infant growth and development. To achieve the health benefits of eating fish, it is advised to eat a variety of fish and shellfish that are low in mercury such as salmon, tilapia, shrimp, oysters, scallops, and sardines.

Recommendations for Cooking & Preparing Fish

You can reduce the fat and contaminants (e.g. pesticides, PCBs) in the fish you eat. To reduce the potential harmful effects from eating contaminated fish, VDH recommends the following:

  • Eat smaller, younger fish. Younger fish are less likely to contain harmful levels of contaminants than older, larger fish.
  • Remove the skin, the fat from the belly and top, and the internal organs before cooking the fish.
  • Bake, broil, or grill on an open rack to allow fats to drain. Avoid pan frying in butter or animal fat because these methods hold fat juices.
  • Discard the fat that cooks out of the fish, and avoid or reduce the amount of fish drippings that are used to flavor the meal.
  • Eat less deep fried fish since frying seals contaminants into the fatty tissue.

More Information About Virginia's Fish Consumption Advisories

Fish tissue and sediment samples are routinely sampled in state waters for contaminant analysis.  VDH uses this fish tissue sampling data to update and create new advisories as needed when the contaminants in fish exceed levels of concerns.  Advisories provide guidance to the public to make informed choices about eating locally caught fish.  Virginia's fish consumption advisories are reviewed annually.

  • For questions about human health risks from exposure to fish contaminants, please contact the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) at (804) 864-8182.
  • For general questions about fishing regulations in Virginia, please call the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) at (804) 367-1000, or visit their webpage by clicking here.
  • For further information regarding the fish tissue sampling and analysis process, please contact the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) at (804) 698-4113, or visit their webpage by clicking here.

Environmental Exposure Assessments

The Public Health Toxicology Program in the Virginia Department of Health’s Division of Environmental Epidemiology, works with communities and various state and federal agency officials to determine if contaminants in the environment are a health hazard. Some of our assessments include determining the amount of volatile organic compounds in the air, the amount of lead contamination in soil, the level of tetrachloroethylene (PCE) in groundwater, or the amount of mercury in the biota of a body of water. If we determine that an existing health threat exists, the community is informed immediately and recommendations are provided to eliminate or reduce the hazard. Frequently, the Toxicology Program is asked to provide a written report that summarizes any potential health hazards, how individuals may be exposed, and recommendations to the public.  Search the table below to find reports written from 2002 to the present.

Toxicology Staff

VDH staff who support public health toxicology activities

Toxicologist – The toxicologist identifies potential health hazards in communities and determines what harmful effects will occur under certain exposure circumstances. Next, the toxicologist makes recommendations to abate or reduce any exposure.

Health Educator – A health educator is responsible for providing detailed information about the different aspects of community health. The health educator serves as a liaison between health professionals, officials, and community members of an affected population to inform them about health impacts in their environment. Job responsibilities include assessing individual and community needs, identifying resources, and planning, developing, coordinating, and implementing health education programs.

Health Assessor – A health assessor is responsible for investigating possible human exposures to toxic and hazardous substances and assessing the public health implications of such exposures. The health assessor evaluates the data contributed by all members of the public health assessment team and makes recommendations if necessary to protect public health, and to prevent ongoing and future exposures and resultant health effects.

Epidemiologist – In a public health assessment, an epidemiologist may be required to evaluate the feasibility of using health outcome data, to analyze the rates of diseases and health conditions in a specific area, to help examine exposure information, and to assist with communicating findings of the data analysis.

Data Analyst Specialist – A data analyst specialist is responsible for assessing current surveillance and investigation business processes and data flows related to toxic substances. In doing so, they manage and evaluate public health information systems and environmental data, and serve as lead point of contact with technical staff responsible for system development and implementation. They support the development of training materials and provide technical assistance to system users, as well as share environmental data records with other offices.

Exposure Assessment from 2002-present

Locality Contaminants Environmental Media Site Name Document Year
Richmond city methane, mold, naphthalene, formaldehyde indoor air A.V. Norrell Elementary School A.V. Norrell Elementary School 2013
Alexandria city metals dust Alexandria City Public Schools-Maintenance Garage Health Implications of Textbooks Covered with Dust Containing Metals 2014
Smith County PM10 outdoor air American Wood Fibers American Wood Fibers 2013 2013
Fairfax County Tetrachloroethylene (PCE) indoor air Annandale PCE Annandale PCE Site 2014
Arlington Tetrachloroethylene (PCE) indoor air Arlington Cleaners Fairlington Cleaners 2017 2017
Arlington Tetrachloroethylene (PCE) indoor air Arlington Cleaners Fairlington Cleaners 2018 2018
Westmoreland County Trichloroethylene (TCE) indoor air Arrowhead Manufacturing Building Arrowhead Manufacturing Building 2013
Portsmouth city arsenic, PCBs, Dioxin, dieldrin, PAHs, crabs, oysters Atlantic Wood Industries Evaluation of Contaminant Exposures from Human Consumption of Crabs and Oysters 2008
Arlington diesel exhaust air Bluemont Park Bluemont Park Diesel Exhaust 2018 2018
Hampton city PCE, TCE, vinyl chloride groundwater Boulevard Cleaners Public Health Implications of Contaminated Groundwater 2012
Hannover County uranium well water Calvary Pentecostal Camp Elevated uranium in a non-transient non-community water system 2013
Bedford County VOCs drinking water Chamblissburg Evaluation of Volatile Organic Compounds in Private Well Samples Collected at a Private Residence in Chamblissburg, VA 2017
Chesapeake city Arsenic, Copper, Lead, Zinc, Benzo(a)pyrene soil Chesapeake Products Chesapeake Products Site 2006
Winchester city VOCs, carbonyls, toxic metals, hexavalent chromium air City of Winchester & Frederick County Evaluation of city of Winchester air samples for public health implications 2015
Wise County lead soil Coeburn Produce Disposal Assessment of Lead in Soil 2003
Fairfax County VOCs, SVOCs, PM10, metals air Crumb Rubber Crumb Rubber Methods Review LHC 09 28 2015 2015
Danville city Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) fish Dan River Dan River Fish Tissue PCBs 2014 2016
Danville city heavy metals fish Dan River Dan River Fish Tissue Metals 2014-2015 2017
Danville city heavy metals fish Dan River Dan River Fish Tissue Metals 2014-2016 2017
Danville city Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) fish Dan River Evaluation of Polychlorinated Biphenyls Concentrations in Fish from the Dan River in 2016 2018
Danville city heavy metals fish Dan River Dan River fish metals 2014-2017 LHC 05 10 19 2019
Chesterfield County environmental contaminants surface water Defense Supply Center Richmond Review of 1993 Public Health Assessment Recommendations 2002
Chesterfield County environmental contaminants surface water Defense Supply Center Richmond Defense General Supply Center 2002
Henrico County VOCs indoor air Evaluation of Contaminants in Indoor Air 2014
Pulaski County VOCs groundwater Electroplate-Rite Corporation Evaluation of groundwater data from the Electroplate-Rite Corporation site for public health implications via vapor intrusion pathway 2015
Hampton city Tetrachloroethylene (PCE) groundwater Former Fashion Care Cleaners Former Fashion Care Cleaners 2012
Suffolk city metals, dieldrin, PAHs, TNT, soil, groundwater, surface water, sediments, fish Former Nansemond Ordnance Depot Former Nansemond Ordnance Depot 2004
Franklin County fuel groundwater Grassy Hill Road Grassy Hill Rd-Johnstown Rd - Contaminants in Well Water 2018
Albemarle County VOCs groundwater Greenwood Chemical Residential Well Water Samples Reviewed for Public Health Implications 2017
Hanover County cancer assessment air H&H Burn Pit H&H Burn Pit Site 2016
Loudoun County VOCs water Hidden Lane Landfill Hidden Lane Landfill 2009
Loudoun County arsenic drinking water Hidden Lane Landfill Comments on Loudoun County's Independent Review 2016
Loudoun County arsenic drinking water Hidden Lane Landfill Significance of Arsenic in Drinking Water Near Hidden Lane Landfill 2017
Alexandria city Asbestos indoor air Hunting Point on Potomac Apartment Complex Hunting Point Post-Cleaning 2014
Alexandria city Asbestos indoor air Hunting Point on Potomac Apartment Complex Hunting Point on Potomac Residential Asbestos 4.21.2014 2014
Clarke County gasoline well water J&J Corner Store J&J Corner Store - Groundwater Contamination 2012
Alleghany County metals, organic compounds groundwater, surface water, soil Kim-Stan Landfill Re-evaluation of Pathways of Concern at Kim-Stan Landfill 2016
Norfolk City PAHs oysters Lafayette River PAHs Health Consultation: Consumption Advisory Guidelines for Oysters Contaminated with Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons 2012
Norfolk City Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) oysters Lafayette River PCBs Letter Health Consultation: Consumption Advisory Guidelines for Oysters Contaminated with Polychlorinated Biphenyls 2014
Norfolk City PM10 air Lambert's Point Public Health Implications of PM10 Concentrations Collected Near Lambert's Point Coal Terminal 2017
Virginia Beach city PAHs oysters Lynnhaven River Consumption Advisory Guidelines for Oysters Contaminated with Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons 2014
Rockingham County Chloramine, Endotoxin air Massanutten Waterpark Massanutten Waterpark Air Quality Investigation 2017
Virginia Beach city metals, PCBs, VOCs fish, crab Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek Part 1 2003
Virginia Beach city metals, PCBs, VOCs fish, crab Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek Part 2 2003
King George County fuel, oils, solvents, acids, paint, pesticides, ammunitions, ordinance and explosive materials. fish, water, soil Naval Support Facility (NSF) Dahlgren Naval Support Facility (NSF) Dahlgren 2006
New Kent County chromium, copper, arsenic groundwater New Kent Wood Preservatives New Kent Wood Preservatives: Groundwater 2015
New Kent County chromium, copper, arsenic soil New Kent Wood Preservatives New Kent Wood Preservatives: Soil 2016
Prince William County pesticides, metals, PCBs fish Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge Evaluation of Contaminants in Fish 2014
Portsmouth city metals, PCBs soil, sediment Peck Iron and Metal Peck Iron and Metal 2011
Pittsylvania County Uranium, radium drinking water Pittsylvania Well Water Evaluation of Uranium and Radium in a Private Well 2014
Portsmouth city VOCs, SVOCs, petroleum hydrocarbons, mercury vapor, metals, cyanide soil, groundwater, air Portsmouth Manufactured Gas Plant Review of Environmental Sampling Data 2003
Wise County lead, PCBs soil Powell Lead Powell Lead Site 2016
Pulaski County lead Radford Army Ammunition Plant New River Childhood Blood Lead 2014
Pulaski County lead drinking water Radford Army Ammunition Plant Radford Army Ammunition Plant_HC_Final_01-28-2015 2015
Richmond County Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) fish Rappahannock, James, and Potomac Rivers Rappahannock James Potomac Fish Tissue PCBs 2016 2018
Multiple Counties heavy metals fish Rappahannock, James, and Potomac Rivers 2017 Multiple Waterways Metals Fish Tissue 2019
Multiple Counties PCBs fish Rappahannock, James, and Potomac Rivers 2017 Multiple Waterways PCBs Fish Tissue 2019
Suffolk city methyl bromide air Royal Fumigation Royal Fumigation Site 2012
Henrico County PCE, TCE indoor air Sandston PCE Sandston PCE site 2015
Tazewell County metals, VOCs, PAHs soil, sediment, surface water Simmons Rand Property Richlands Simmons Rand 2014
Suffolk city methyl bromide air Western Fumigation Western Fumigation Site 2012
Hopewell city VOCs outdoor air Woodson Middle School Evaluation of Volatile Organic Compounds in Outdoor Air at Woodson Middle School 2015
Hopewell city metals, carbonyls outdoor air Woodson Middle School Evaluation of Metals and Carbonyls in Outdoor Air at Woodson Middle School 2015
Portsmouth city lead soil Abex Corporation A five-year review of blood lead levels in Portsmouth City, VA 2018
Chesapeake arsenic fish, shellfish Chesapeake Energy Chesapeake Energy Biota Report 2018
Pulaski County lead air Radford Army Ammunition Plant Evaluating Lead Air Monitoring Data near the Radford Army Ammunition Plant 2018



Molds are fungi that can be found everywhere. They reproduce by means of spores that are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air.  These fungi can grow on almost any substance where moisture is present. Molds can grow on ceilings, walls, under sinks, drywall, ductwork, furniture, and wood, among other materials. When there is a lot of moisture present, high humidity, and/or temperatures are above 65°F, mold spores become active and start to grow rapidly. There are many types of mold, and none of them will grow without water or moisture. Outdoors, molds can break down dead organic matter, such as fallen leaves and dead trees. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment. The key to controlling indoor mold growth is controlling the moisture source.

NOTE: VDH does not have the capability to provide environmental testing or remediation for mold problems, or provide legal advice. Concerned citizens are advised to follow the practical advice given on this site, refer to additional resources, and if necessary, consult an environmental specialist.

General Information

Health Effects from Mold Exposure

Some people are affected by the presence of mold while others can live in places with a large amount of mold and not experience any symptoms. Allergic reaction is the most commonly reported health effect of mold exposure. If you cough, wheeze, or have difficulty breathing around mold, you may be sensitive to certain molds. If continuously exposed to mold, some people may develop symptoms such as watery, itchy, burning or red eyes; nose or throat irritation; sneezing; coughing or wheezing; constant headaches; memory problems or mood changes; aches and pains; and in some cases, hives, welts, or skin rash. Mold spores cannot be seen but can be inhaled, which can cause irritation or infection in the lungs and make it harder to breathe.

Those who are more likely than others to develop symptoms from mold exposure include young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with asthma or other respiratory diseases.  People with suppressed immune systems (e.g. HIV/AIDs infection, organ transplant patients, chemotherapy patients) should avoid heavy mold infestations. If possible, susceptible individuals should not live in buildings where mold is growing, and should consult their family physician if symptoms develop or persist.

Black Mold

One species of mold (Stachbotrys chartarum), known as black mold, may cause more serious health effects to people who are sensitive to mold.  For more information, you can view our Freqently Asked Questions about Black Mold document here.

For Help With Mold

Rental Properties/Apartments

If you live in an apartment and you feel that your landlord/property manager has not promptly addressed your concerns, please contact the Virginia Office of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section. The Office of Consumer Protection provides information to individuals on matters related to landlord-tenant issues, and can be reached at either 804-786-2042 or 1-800-552-9963.  Additionally, the Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (Sections 55-248.2 through 55-248.40 of the Code of Virginia) establishes the rights and obligations of residential landlords and tenants in the Commonwealth, but only the courts can enforce those rights and obligations.  To review the Act, please click on Virginia Residential Landlord & Tenant Act.


If you own a residential home, it is recommended to contact a mold assessment, remediation, or removal company that holds a certification from the American Industrial Hygiene Association  or follows guidelines from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) does not assess the credentials of, or make recommendations regarding, specific mold specialists.

For more information, follow the guidelines published by the EPA:

Schools and Commercial Buildings

Virginia Department of Health does not regulate schools or commercial buildings.  Any workplace concerns can be addressed to the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH).  For more information about filing a complaint, visit their website.  The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) also has information and resources for workplace concerns at their website.

For more information about remediating mold in large buildings, please refer to EPA’s Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings

Mold Remediation and Inspection

Mold remediation and inspection is an unregulated industry in Virginia.  Unlike asbestos and lead, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not regulate mold remediation and inspection, and does not provide regulatory guidance and standards.  However, they do provide guidance and best practices to clean mold and prevent mold growth.

For more information about mold regulation in Virginia:

For more information about mold clean-up and prevention:

Mold Cleanup and Prevention


There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment, but you can prevent excessive mold growth by controlling moisture in your home.

  • Fix leaks promptly, eliminate sources of moisture, and clean up the mold
  • Clean and dry or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours of a flood or leak
  • Use air conditioners and/or dehumidifiers
  • Inspect and repair the ventilation system
  • Reduce humidity at (try to achieve 30 to 60 percent)
  • Use exhaust fans to circulate indoor moisture (from cooking, dish-washing, showering) to the outdoors; and remove carpeting in areas of excess moisture (from cooking, sinks, bathtubs and showers)
  • Add insulation to reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors)

NOTE: VDH does not have the capability to provide environmental testing or remediation for mold problems. Concerned citizens are advised to follow the practical advice given on this site, refer to additional resources, and if necessary, consult an environmental specialist.


For large areas covered with mold, it is best to seek help from a professional. The Commonwealth of Virginia does not require contractors to be licensed to inspect or remediate mold. Contractors should be able to provide a list of referrals and may also hold certifications from private industrial hygiene associations, such as the American Industrial Hygiene Association.

Small areas of mold (less than 10 square feet) can be cleaned up from hard surfaces with detergent and water, or a mild bleach solution.

For more information consult the EPA's Guide to Mold and Moisture in a Home.

NOTE: VDH does not have the capability to provide environmental testing or remediation for mold problems. Concerned citizens are advised to follow the practical advice given on this site, refer to additional resources, and if necessary, consult an environmental specialist.

Clean-up After a Flood

Prompt cleanup after a flood is important to for preventing mold growth in your home.  For more information, visit EPA’s Flood Cleanup Guideline.

Toxicology Explained

Toxicology is the science of determining health risks from exposure to chemicals.  Almost any chemical can be harmful depending on the dose (the amount of chemical and amount of time a person is exposed, in addition to how often a person is exposed) and route of exposure (whether the chemical is eaten, breathed in, or touches your skin).  Acute (short-term) exposure and chronic (long-term) exposures can have different effects on a person’s health.

Toxicology Explained:

What makes a chemical exposure harmful?

The Dose Makes the Poison

The basic principle of toxicology is that "the dose makes the poison," which is a concept attributed to the 15th-century physician Paracelsus.  It is understood that a chemical's effects are dose-dependent, which means that the effect is determined by how much a person is exposed to.  For example, chemicals that have helpful or therapeutic uses are harmful at a higher dose.  Toxicologists use information from dose-response studies to calculate safe levels of contaminants that are expected to harm a person's health.  For more information about the dose-response relationship, click here.

"All substances are poisons; there is none which is not a poison. The right dose differentiates a poison and a remedy."
- Paracelsus

Routes of Exposure

How a chemical enters into a person's body can make a difference with how much of it is absorbed, and can determine whether or not the exposure will cause harm.  Oral exposure is when something is ingested, usually through food or drink.  Inhalation exposure is when a person breathes something that is in the air.  Dermal exposure happens when something is absorbed through a person's skin.  A chemical that is harmful by one route of exposure may not be very harmful at all by another.

Risk Assessment

Risk assessors calculate the total exposure dose by adding the amount of chemicals entering your body by all of the potential exposure routes.  This information is the compared to data from dose-response studies to determine whether the total exposure is will harm a person's health.  If  there is a concern about negative health effects, then the risk assessor may make suggestions to help people avoid or reduce exposure.

Toxic Substances Surveillance

Two databases are maintained within the Public Health Toxicology Program based on information reported to the Virginia Department of Health by physicians, laboratories, hospitals, and medical facilities. Statistical analysis is performed on the number of reported cases by race, sex, age, range of elevation, population rates, locality, and health district.

LeadElevated Blood Levels in Children Reports contain information on children, age 15 years or younger, with an elevated blood lead level of greater than or equal to 5 micrograms of lead per deciliter of whole blood (µg/dL).  Prior to 2016 the screening level was 10 µg/dL.

Toxic Substance-Related Illness Reports include information on adults whose diagnostic test results indicate a possible exposure to a toxic substance. Examples of the reports include blood or urine test results for exposure to lead, cadmium, mercury, or arsenic. Information is also provided on individuals diagnosed with asbestosis or pneumoconiosis.

For information on other reportable disease surveillance data, visit the Division of Surveillance and Investigation website.

Annual Reports

Lead - Elevated Blood Levels in Children 

2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007* | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998 | 1997 | 1996 | 1995 | 1994 | 1993 | 1992 | 1991 | 1990 | 1989 | 1988

Toxic Substance-Related Illness 

2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 *| 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998 | 1997 | 1996 | 1995 | 1994 | 1993 | 1992 | 1991 | 1990 | 1989 | 1988

*For 2007 and earlier, documents include all reportable diseases in Virginia


Occupational Health

Work-related injury and illness can have a significant impact on workers, their families, employers, and society.  The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologist (CSTE) in association with the CDC’s National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has set forth 24 occupational health indicators (OHIs) to help measure work-related disease or injury and factors associated with workplace health hazards, exposures, or interventions. Using the most recent data available and following the guidelines set forth from the 2016 Occupational Health Indicators: A Guide for Tracking Occupational Health Conditions and Their  Determinants, VDH generated a report for Virginia for the years 2005 to 2014. Of the 24 OHIs, Virginia currently has the capability to track and monitor 20 indicators.

First Responder Opioid Exposure